Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 3)

Series starts 11/12

Game 1: Wednesday, November 12th
Game 2: Saturday, January 3rd
Game 3: Thursday, February 12th

Celtics 88

(17-18, 9-8 away)

Bulls 77

(10-23, 5-12 home)

    Coverage: WGN

    7:30 PM ET, January 3, 2004

    United Center, Chicago, IL

    1 2 3 4 T
    BOS 22 9 27 3088
    CHI 21 23 15 1877

    Top Performers

    Bos: P. Pierce 33 Pts, 3 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Blk

    Chi: J. Crawford 16 Pts, 5 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Pierce, James score 14 each in the fourth

    CHICAGO (AP) -- Paul Pierce told Mike James he couldn't do it alone, that he needed some help Saturday night. And James was listening.

    "He was big. Coming out for the fourth quarter I called him 'Fourth Quarter Mike' and he responded," Pierce said. "I told him I needed him in this quarter and he delivered."

    Pierce and James had 14 points each in the final quarter -- James scored 12 straight Boston points at one juncture -- and the Celtics rallied to beat the Chicago Bulls 88-77.

    Boston overcame a nine-point second quarter -- its lowest scoring quarter of the season -- and a 15-point deficit to post the victory.

    "We played so poorly, we were really disappointed in the first half. We had good looks and didn't knock down shots," said Pierce, who finished with 33 points. "We knew we would get back in the game in the second half if we got the same opportunities. We just stuck with it."

    The Celtics shot 52 percent in the second half, while the Bulls were 9-of-40 (23 percent) in the final two quarters. Boston outscored Chicago 57-33 in the second half.

    The Bulls, who were just 1-of-16 on 3-pointers in the game, were led by 16 points from Jamal Crawford.

    "When most teams come back we start playing more cautious and on our heels," Crawford said. "They did what they had to do. We got ice cold basically. Pierce got hot and James made some tough shots."

    James hit a pair of 3-pointers, two other jumpers and two free throws to score 12 straight Celtics points and put Boston up 75-69 with just over four minutes left.

    "The ball found me a couple of times for some open looks and then I just got into a rhythm and started playing with a little more energy," said James, 6-for-11 from the field.

    After James' 12-point outburst, Pierce made two free throws, a jumper and an impressive dunk after a crossover and the Celtics had an 11-point lead.

    After their poor second quarter, the Celtics rallied in the third behind 10 points from Pierce to get within one when the Bulls made just 4-of-22 field-goal attempts.

    The Bulls, with Eddie Robinson getting nine points, outscored the Celtics 23-9 in the second quarter -- Boston's lowest scoring period of the season -- to take a 44-31 lead.

    The Celtics were just 3-for-21 from the field (14 percent) in the second period and their 31 points tied a season low for a half.

    Game notes

    Vin Baker, who had started in all 33 of the games he'd played this season, didn't start Saturday night as the Celtics went for more mobility. Walter McCarty started in his place and finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Baker entered the game in the second quarter. ... The Celtics couldn't get out of Boston after Friday night's loss to the Pacers when their plane was fogged in. So, they had to wait until Saturday and didn't get into Chicago until after 3 p.m. ... Coach Scott Skiles is putting Eddy Curry through extra drills to improve his conditioning. What did Curry think when Skiles said he wasn't in shape? "I took it as the truth," Curry said, adding that his conditioning really took a hit when he missed seven games recently with a sore left knee. Curry's extra work didn't pay off Saturday night. In 17 minutes, he had five fouls, six points and missed four free throws.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 88 77
    FGM-FGA 28-76 (.368) 28-84 (.333)
    3PM-3PA 9-26 (.346) 1-16 (.063)
    FTM-FTA 23-37 (.622) 20-27 (.741)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 9-48 12-49
    Assists 14 18
    Turnovers 15 16
    Steals 11 12
    Blocks 2 4
    Fast Break Points 4 3
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 18 (0/0) 27 (0/0)

    Top Performers

    Paul Pierce Pierce
    Points: 33
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Jamal Crawford Crawford
    Points: 16
    Reb: 5
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 1